15th–20th century C.E.
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Man’s robe (boubou or kusaibi), unrecorded Mandinka artists
The boubou is a distinctive type of prestige dress worn by well-to-do men and women across a wide swath of western Africa.
Spoons from West Africa in Renaissance Lisbon
Ivory spoons from West Africa were imported into Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Ceremonial Ladle (Dan peoples)
The hostess with the mostess: these ladles honored women for their exceptional generosity and hospitality.
Masks like this represent a guardian spirit and allude to an idealized female beauty in Mende and Sherbro culture.
Ivory saltcellars were objects created for trade: they were African made and intended for the Portuguese market.
Cotton hammock (Vai peoples)
Before motorized transport, male and female chiefs in Sierra Leone were transported in these elaborate hammocks.
Stone Head (mahe yafei), Kisi peoples
These enigmatic stone heads were found in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and perhaps predate European arrival to Africa.
Bundu / Sowei Helmet Mask (Mende peoples)
The Mende initiation rite for young women is the only known masquerade tradition where the mask-wearers are female.